By Daniella Peled
March 5, 2009
This morning, a bulldozer went on the rampage in Jerusalem, the third such attack in a year. Luckily, this time no-one was killed or badly injured; the Palestinian driver was shot dead by police. No motive has yet been discovered, no organisation has yet taken responsibility.
But it was pretty traumatic, nonetheless. And it meant that Nir Barkat, the new mayor of Jerusalem, had to deal with the first terror attack on his beat. How did he do?
Well, he arrived on the scene within half an hour (as he should).
And what did he say?
"The policy toward those who want to hurt us should combine strict punishment to create effective deterrence, quickly neutralizing the attackers, and returning to our routine lives as soon a possible following an attack." Then he handed out badges with the symbol of the city to the two policemen and one civilian who helped stop the bulldozer driver.
Barkat is pretty pareve at the best of times, but it is hard to imagine any more meaningless or anodyne a response from someone supposed to be a figurehead for the capital, there to rally them in times of need.
As mayor, he has no role in managing the city's security. But he is responsible for all its citizens, including those from east Jerusalem- where all the bulldozer attackers so far have come from.
Barkat has failed to address with the fact that some of the citizens of his city are trying to kill other citizens of his city. A thorny issue, indeed, and not one that can be dealt with by handing out lapel pins at the scene of the attacks.